Update: Anita Monga was the manager of the Castro theatre before being let go in December, which inspired sizeable protests. When Monga was honored at the SFIFS the night before Bird's speech, she expressed many of Bird's same sentiments.Monga was one who practiced what Bird preached. Contra Costa Times: Castro's caretaker honored has details. Info and photos provided by SF film reviewer and blogger Steve Rhodes.
Brad Bird, writer and director of The Incredibles, summoned a packed film festival audience to get out of their DVD-playing family rooms, go back downtown and demand better showmanship from their community theatres.
Bird delivered a "State of the Film" address to a Kabuki theatre audience during last week's San Francisco International Film Festival. While Bird praised Steve Jobs as a great studio boss (The Incredibles was created by Jobs' Pixar,) he admonished studios and theatre managers for ruining the movie-going expierience.
Ads before opening credits are one of Bird's
theatre-going pet peeves. This earned him concurring "booos" from the
Kabuki audience, who apparently hate the credit card and other
non-movie related commercials between coming attraction trailers and
Bird encouraged us to patronize Century Theatres, which he said has a no-commercial policy.
Bird had a lot to say about old-fasioned movie theatre showmanship of the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s. He wants to bring back the "Event Movies" of that bygone era: marquees, ushers showing customers to their seats, curtains and live organists to play overtures during opening and closing credits. All qualities which "perfectly presented" the feature film.
He also wants to rollback some Consent Decree law, which he said prevents studios from owning movie theatres.
But he also complained about studios, so it's sort of confusing.
Apparently, DVD sales are the main source of studio income, and directors are increasingly disrupted during the original feature production to take time out for DVD director's cuts.
Bird had a lot to say, using words and mouth sound effects to make his points. A funny moment was Bird's comment about Internet file sharing which received chilly silence from the San Francisco crowd.
Bird fears the Internet will hurt movies the way he saw file sharing hurt the music industry. He recounted a recent day when he lectured his teenage son, whose friend had just downloaded a movie off the web. "That's stealing!" he said he told his son. Bird never mentioned the name of the movie, or if he asked his son what kind of movie it was.
Apparently Bird repeated a lot of the same points made at
a local woman's Anita Monga's film festival speech the day before. She whose name I need to look up, Monga used to manage the Castro but was let go amid sizeable protests. I think she runs SF Neighborhood Theatre Foundation.
(It sounded like she gave a state of the film address too. I met her later and she hadn't seen Bird's speech. A little state-of-the-film rivalry? I wouldn't think so, since their points were the same. I really need to look up her name.)